Hip hip and Fay: Former Naz star helps spark Quinnipiac run

There’s no sense of disappointment; only pride and a fierce determination to get back on the court.

Former Nazareth star Jen Fay was a key part of the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team’s success this season, a Cinderella story that ended in the program’s first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. The ending was far from perfect — a blowout loss to ultimate champion South Carolina — but Fay can still find reasons to smile. After all, she and the Bobcats made history this season, and as far as she’s concerned, that’s nothing to be disappointed about.

“There were some tears, but I think they were all tears of pride and joy to be honest,” Fay said. “I think the season really ended on a good note. A loss is a loss, but after everything we accomplished, the season was fantastic.”

Fay’s own road to on-court success this year was rocky at times. The redshirt sophomore was fresh off an ACL injury that kept her sidelined last winter and she readily admits she was nervous early in her comeback.

“Getting my confidence back this season was probably my main goal,” she said. “Slowly I did that, but at the beginning of the season I was a little hesitant.”

It took a few weeks, but once Fay started playing consistent minutes again, she quickly became the Bobcats’ on-court leader, seeing action in all 36 of Quinnipiac’s games and leading the team with 10.5 points a game while averaging a blistering 47.5 percent from the floor.

“My teammates instilled more and more confidence in me,” said Fay, who also led the squad in three-point percentage. “Then once I saw the ball go through the basket a couple of times, it gave me that full confidence I needed to go out there and play my game.”

She helped keep the Bobcats focused throughout the season, even when the squad faced seemingly insurmountable challenges on the national stage. Quinnipiac might have surprised the basketball-watching world with wins over Marquette and Miami, but Fay never doubted her team could contend with the best.

“We never overlooked anybody, conference or non-conference, especially in the playoffs,” she said. “We took it one game at a time and we focused on that opponent.”

The whirlwind few weeks of bringing the national spotlight to Quinnipiac has been as exhausting as it’s been thrilling, but now that Fay and her teammates have done it, she’s anxious to prove it’s not about the name of the school, but the work of its players.

“I think this run just showed a lot of people that mid-major schools are important,” she said. “They might not have heard of you, but if you have the right work ethic and mindset, you can pretty much do anything. We hope to inspire people to believe that.”

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